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infection which it has admitted to his system is circulating insidiously there. The poison glides quietly along his veins and arteries, for weeks, months, years: it does not mar his enjoyments or disturb his repose; but, still, the dreadful enemy, though slumbering, is there. At last, in some unexpected hour, it rises upon him in all its strength, and overwhelms and conquers him entirely: it brings agony to his body, and indescribable horror to his soul; and hurries him, through the most furious paroxysms of madness and despair, to inevitable death.

And it is just so with sin. A murderer, for example, will often slumber, ten, twenty, or thirty years, over his crime. The knowledge of it will lie in his heart, like a lurking poison, during all that time. He will recollect it without anxiety or compunction, and look forward to the future without alarm. At last, however, some circumstance, often apparently trifling, will awaken him. He will begin to feel his guilt; conscience will suddenly rise upon him like an armed man, and overwhelm him with all the horrors of remorse and despair. Perhaps, if one had tried, a few weeks before, to make him feel his guilt, it would have been vain; he was so utterly hardened in it; so dead in trespasses and sins: but now you will find it far more difficult to allay or to mitigate the storm, which has, perhaps, spontaneously arisen.

Every person, therefore, who commits sin takes a viper into his bosom,-a viper which may delay stinging him for many years; but it will sting him at last, unless it is removed. He is unaware of the misery which awaits him; but it must come, notwithstanding. This is particularly the case with sins against God: and the wonder is, that the sense of guilt will remain so entirely dormant, as it often does, so that no warning, no expostulation, no remonstrance, will disturb the death-like repose; and yet, at last, the volcano will often burst forth spontaneously, or

from some apparently trifling cause, and overwhelm the sinner in suffering.

Now, we certainly should not wish that this suffering should come upon any individual, were it not that, in a vast multitude of cases, it leads him to repent of and to forsake his sins. Remorse is not penitence, it is true; but it very frequently leads to it.

4. The Bible leads men to a Saviour.-Men everywhere have the impression, that penitence is not enough to remove and expiate guilt. Whenever we do wrong, there is implanted, as it were, in the very soul, a fearful looking forward to punishment to come, in consequence of it. We know that no Government can be efficiently maintained, where its settled, regular plan is to forgive always upon confession. Now it is found, by universal experience, and the cases I have narrated happily illustrate this, that when men are really brought to feel their sins against God, they cannot be quieted by any general assurances that God is merciful. They know He is merciful; but then they know He is just. They know He is the Great Moral Governor of the Universe; and the youngest child, or the most ignorant savage, has an instinct, I might almost call it, which so assures him of the necessity of a retribution, that he cannot rest after a repeated disobedience, in the hope that his penitence alone will secure his pardon. Hence, in all unchristian countries, they have various ways of doing penance, that is, inflicting severe voluntary suffering upon themselves, by way of retribution for their sins. Now, when men, under such circumstances, hear that a Saviour has died for them, it brings relief. It is very often the case, that there is not a very clear idea of the way in which His sufferings are of avail in opening the way for pardon. In fact, it is not absolutely necessary that there should be very clear ideas on this subject. The mind, however darkened and ignorant,

is capable of seeing, that these sufferings may in some way stop the evil consequences of its sins, and open the way for pardon; and yet not fully understand, in all their detail, the various moral influences which the crucifixion of the Son of God is calculated to produce.

My reader, do you feel a secret but continual burden from a sense of your sins? Try the experiment of coming and asking forgiveness in the Saviour's name; and see if it does not bring relief.

I suppose the most of my readers remember the story of Regulus.-The ancient cities of Rome and Carthage stood opposite to each other, across the Mediterranean Sea. As these two cities grew up to power and distinction nearly together, they were the rivals and enemies of each other. There was many a hard-fought battle between their armies and their fleets.

At last Regulus, a celebrated Roman General, was sent across the sea, to carry the war, if possible, to the very gates of Carthage. He was at first very successful; and he took many prisoners, and sent them to Rome. At length, however, the scale was turned; the Roman army was conquered; and Regulus himself was captured, and thrown into a Carthaginian prison.

After some time, however, had elapsed, the Carthaginians, foreseeing that the Roman power would, in the end, overwhelm their own, concluded to send an embassy to Rome, to propose peace. They proposed to Regulus to go on this embassy. They entrusted him with the commission; saying to him: "We wish you would go to Rome, and propose to your countrymen to make peace with us, and endeavour to persuade them to comply. If you do not succeed, however, we expect you to return to us again, as our lawful prisoner. We shall confide in your word."

Regulus accepted the trust. He set off to Rome, pro

mising to return to Carthage, if the Romans should not accede to the peace. He sailed across the sea, and up the Tiber; and was soon approaching the gates of the Great City. He had determined, however, to do all in his power to prevent a peace, knowing that it would not be for the interest of his country to make one. He understood, therefore, that he was going to his native city only to communicate his message, and then to return to imprisonment, torture, and death, at Carthage.

His wife came out of the gates to meet him, rejoicing in his return. He, dejected, silent, and sad, received her. "I am a Carthaginian prisoner still," said he, "and must soon return to my chains."

He refused to enter the city. He had indeed a message for the Senate; but the Roman Senate was not accustomed to admit foreigners to their sessions, within the city. He sent them word, therefore, that Regulus, no longer a Roman General, but a Carthaginian prisoner, was the bearer of a message to them; and wished them to hold, as usual, a meeting without the gates, for the purpose of receiving it.

The Senate came. They heard the proposal which the Carthaginians sent, and the arguments of Regulus against it. His arguments prevailed. They decided against peace; and Regulus began to speak of his



Return!" said his friends, and the Senators, and all the people of Rome: "you are under no obligation to return to Carthage."



I promised to return," said Regulus; "and I must keep my word. I am well aware that the disappointed and exasperated Carthaginians will inflict upon me cruel tortures; but I am their prisoner still, and I must keep my word."

The Romans did all in their power to persuade Re

gulus, that a promise extorted under such circumstances I was not binding, and that he could be under no obligaBut all was vain. He bade the Senate

tions to return. and his countrymen and his wife farewell, and was soon sailing back to the land of his enemies. The Carthaginians were enraged at the result of his mission. They put him to death by the most cruel tortures.

When the tidings of his death came back to Rome, the Senate and the people, who had already been much impressed by the patriotism of Regulus and his firm adherence to his word, were overwhelmed with admiration and gratitude. This feeling was mixed, too, with a strong desire of revenge upon the Carthaginians; and a decree was passed, giving up the Carthaginian prisoners, then in their hands, to Marcia, the wife of Regulus, to be disposed of as she might desire. She, most unjustly and cruelly, ordered them all to be put to death, by the same sufferings which her lamented husband had endured. My story, thus far, is true: that is, it is substantially

true. The dialogue I have given is intended to exhibit the substance of what was said; not the exact words. The facts, however, are correctly stated. The whole occurrence, as above described, is matter of history.

In order, however, to make the use of this story which I have intended, I must now go on in fiction. I will suppose that Marcia, instead of desiring to gratify a revengeful spirit, by destroying the lives of the innocent prisoners at Rome, in retaliation for the murder of her husband, had been actuated by a nobler spirit, and had sent such a message as this to the Roman Senate, in reply to their proposal to her :

"I do not wish for revenge. It will do little good, either to Regulus who is dead, or to his unhappy widow who survives, to torture or to destroy the miserable captives in our hands. Dispose of them as the good of the

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